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Printer Settings: Get the Most Out of Your Printer

spring_2Are you getting the most out of your home or office printer? Making the slightest of adjustments to your printer settings can make all the difference in the world.

Most business owners will agree that a good quality, efficient printer is not exactly cheap.  But if you’re spending all that money on a good printer, shouldn’t you get the most of out of your printed materials?

Most of the time, it’s not the printer itself that causes poor quality output, but more so the printer settings.  Your projects and collateral may be in high-resolution, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what will come out on the other side.  Factors such as choice of resolution, print quality settings, paper options, brightness, and contrast all have a significant effect on your printer’s output.

Resolution

Resolution is definitely a major factor.  In most design applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, resolution refers to the size of a digital image.  In regards to a printer’s resolution, the number of dots per square inch that a printer can produce defines the quality of the print.  Most graphic designers know that images and projects should be set to the optimal 300 dpi (dots per square inch) to ensure the best quality print.  Before you print your project, be sure to look at the resolution settings and select the maximum resolution to achieve the best result.

Quality Option and Paper Type

Some printers will have a quality option and paper type option.  For plain text documents, it may be more necessary to print at low quality to help speed up the printing process.  But for more complex projects such as brochures or color presentation documents, it is best to set your quality settings to normal or high depending on your available options.  Paper type also dictates the quality of your printer’s output.  Some printers are able to print projects based on the paper type.  For example, if you select glossy as the paper type, the printer will know exactly how to process the project onto the paper to achieve optimal results.

Miscellaneous Settings

A lot of printers now provide special print options such as Fix Photo or Fix Red-Eye.  These features may not work exactly as it should but they are definitely nice-to-haves.  Preset color options are helpful if you don’t have the best design skills but want to add last minute effect such as black and white, sepia, sharper image color, or adjusted brightness.

The most important thing to remember before sending a project to your printer is knowing exactly what you are printing.  A project draft or plain text document may not need the best quality output settings, requiring less time and less ink than something like a family portrait photo or company brochure.

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